Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is smoking in public a nuisance?

The city council will meet tonight to discuss an ordinance that would bar people from smoking in many public places around the city.

The proposed law should generate some controversy, raising questions about personal freedoms of smokers and the government's role in addressing public health concerns due to smoking. Others are asking what the law's affect can have on businesses in town.

Smokers certainly enjoy having their beverage of choice and a smoke while lounging on patios outside of Starbucks, Some Crust Bakery, the Press, the Hip Kitty, Coffee Bean, the Back Abbey, etc. Casablanca in the Packing House even rents out hookahs on their patio. The law would bar smoking in all these places, and some are worried it will push business out of town.

The proposed ordinance would also ban smoking at the Farmer's Market, in the Village West public plaza and at city functions with large gatherings. College students would be affected too, at their outdoor cafes and restaurant seating areas.

Here's the city staff report on the subject. On page 2, the report acknowledges the reality of the situation. Even if this law is passed, it will be just another leaf blower ordinance that is largely ineffective and rarely enforced.

Tonight's meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at city hall.

1 comment:

  1. I guess my question would be why are these things not enforced? If they are not enforced, why waste the time and the effort? And if some ordinances are not enforced, then those that are enforced represent selective enforcement which would be a problem in any court.